Japan ICC judge urges more Asian participation to balance court

Japan ICC judge urges more Asian participation to balance court

[JURIST] A top Japanese judge on the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Sunday called on more Asian governments to participate in the tribunal so its regional representation would be more balanced. Judge Kuniko Ozaki [official profile], who was elected to the ICC in January, said that both Asia and the Middle East are underrepresented [Bernama report] on the court. Of the body's 18 judges only two are Asian: Ozaki and current ICC president judge Song Sang-Hyun [official profile]. Ozaki's comments echo statements [press release, PDF] made by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton [official profile] which encouraged other Asian countries to join the ICC following the ratification [JURIST report] of the the Rome Statute [text] by Bangladesh earlier this week.

On Monday, the Bangladesh Cabinet [official website] ratified the Rome Statute of ICC. The ratification will not, however, aid in Bangladesh's pending war crimes trials in connection with the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] against Pakistan [JURIST news archive], as the ICC can only prosecute crimes that took place on or after the date the statute took effect in 2002.